Anyone who has ventured out on a mountain bike has been down a hill. Riding downhill is, in the simplest terms, great fun, and thanks to our old friend gravity, it’s not essential to be super-fit to get that adrenaline high.
Of course, the next step is ‘proper’ downhilling. If you’ve ever wanted to give it a go, this is the series for you. Your tutors, multiple British champ Will Longden (Lapierre) and World Cup racer Marc Beaumont (GT), will show you some downhill technique basics that will help you progress from trail centre troll to downhill demon in no time.
As well as riding tips, they’ll tell you how to get the best from your bike and your body, and what you stand to gain by joining like-minded downhill virgins at an uplift venue near you.
In part two we’ll take a look at more advanced techniques and bike setup, and get you ready for your first race! But for now, let’s just back up a notch and get down to basics.
Getting your position on the bike right is the most fundamental thing in downhilling. Once you have this nailed, you’ll be well on your way.
Think of a cone of movement, which is basically your weight pivoting around the bottom bracket. Whether the bike is pointing up or down, leaning left or right, you should be able to draw an imaginary vertical line through your core (the area round your hips) and the bike’s bottom bracket.
Look at the picture below of me holding Marc steady on the steep hill. As he stands up tall, you can see the vertical line through Marc’s core and bottom bracket.